This Day in History on 20 January

The historical events hold a lot of value for aspirants who are sitting for UPSC competitive exams including the IAS Exam.

On this page, we will list all historical events that occurred on 20 January. The students can refer to them while preparing for all competitive exams and banking exams.

Important Days

Important Events

1562: Marriage of Akbar and Amber Princess Hira Kunwari

1684: Treaty between Marathas and Portuguese.

1788: Criminals deported from England landed on the shores of New South Wales, Australia. The convicts who prepared to settle here were pardoned.

1817: Ram Mohun Roy started Hindu College in Calcutta with the help of Justice H. East David Hare. This college was later renamed as the Presidency College.

1841: Occupation of Hong Kong by the United Kingdom.

1892: Basketball was played for the first time.

1897: Gandhiji declines to prosecute assailants.

1931: Saroj Kumari’, a feature film produced by Mahavir Photoplays and Theatres Ltd., Secunderabad, was prohibited on January 20 on the grounds that it was ”sordid” and ”revolting”.

1937: Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sworn in as the 32nd President of the United States.

1944: During World War II, Britain’s Royal Air Force dropped 2,300 tons of bombs on the city of Berlin.

1948: Fourth assassination attempt on Mahatma Gandhi. 1. Bomb exploded near Birla House during a prayer meeting of Gandhi.

1949: Junagarh formally merged with Saurashtra.

1957: Asia’s first nuclear reactor was dedicated to the country by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Atomic Energy Establishment (now Bhabha Atomic Research Center) was established.

1957: South Africa banned Indian Cargo ships to dock at their Ports.

1957: First Indian Atomic Reactor “Apsara” at Trombay, Mumbai, was dedicated to the nation.

1963: China and Nepal signed a border agreement.

1972: Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya became Union Territories of India.

1972: Pakistan launched its nuclear weapons program, a few weeks after its defeat in the Bangladesh Liberation War, as well as the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. 

1972: Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura become states of Indian union. Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram become Union Territories. Assam’s North East Frontier Agency (Nepha) was renamed as Arunachal Pradesh territory.

1995: Supreme Court orders closure of 84 industries in and around Taj Mahal in UP due to pollution.

1996: The Indian Army conducted United Nation Peacekeeping Keeping Operations in New Delhi from 20 to 26 Jan 1996, wherein delegates from UN HQ and 17 foreign countries of the Asia-Pacific region participated. The Under Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan, was the chief guest.

1998: Polar Music Award announced to Ravi Shankar.

1999: Renowned playwright Girish Karnad is selected for the 1998 Jnanpith Award.

2009: Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the United States, was sworn in.

2012: Gujarat govt appealed in SC against HC order on Lokayukta appointment

Birth/Birth Anniversary

Krishnam Raju, Indian actor and politician
Krishnam Raju, Indian actor and politician

1775: André-Marie Ampère, a French physicist and mathematician.

1827: Chakhi Khuntia, a Jagannath Temple priest and a poet.

1871: Ratanji Jamshedji Tata, an Indian financier, and philanthropist.  

1879: Raghunath Chaudhary, a famous Assamia nature poet, was born.

1898: Krishnarao Ganeshpant Fulanbrikar (Master Krishnarao), a famous singer, actor and music director, was born.

1927: Qurratulain Hyder, Indian-Pakistani journalist and academic (d. 2007)

1930: Buzz Aldrin, an American former astronaut, engineer, and fighter pilot.

1939: Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe, great Indian astronomer, was born.

1940: Krishnam Raju, Indian actor and politician

Ruchi Sanghvi, Indian computer engineer
Ruchi Sanghvi, Indian computer engineer

1945: Ajit Kumar Doval, the 5th and current National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of India. 

1952: Vasant Patankar, famous Marathi writer, was born.

1960: Aapa Sherpa, a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer.

1964: Fareed Rafiq Zakaria, an Indian-American journalist, political scientist, and author.

1982: Ruchi Sanghvi, an Indian computer engineer. She was the first female engineer hired by Facebook. 

1982: Ruchi Sanghvi, Indian computer engineer

Death/ Death Anniversary

1900: John Ruskin, the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, philosopher, prominent social thinker, and philanthropist.

1930: George V, the King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India.

1949: Tej Bahadur Sapru, a prominent Indian freedom fighter, lawyer, and politician.

1951: Thakkar Bapa, an Indian social worker who worked for the upliftment of tribal people in the Gujarat state in India.

1959: Tej Bahadur Sapru passed away.

1980: Kasturbhai Lalbhai, an Indian industrialist and philanthropist.

1988: Abdul Ghaffār Khān, a Pashtun independence activist who worked to end the rule of the British Raj in colonial India.

1993: Captain Karamjeet Singh, first Pramveer Chakra Awardee, passed away.

1993: Bindeshwari Dube, former Chief Minister Bihar, passed away.

2002: R. N. Kao, an Indian spymaster and the first chief of India’s external intelligence agency, the RAW.

2005: Parveen Babi, an Indian film actress, model, and interior designer.

Further Reading

Month-wise This Day in History